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Posts Tagged ‘wine cellar cooling’

New Arrival: CellarCool CX Cooling Units

February 3rd, 2011 No comments

CellarCool CX 2200 wine cellar cooling unit

CellarCool CX 2200, for wine cellars up to 265cf

We’re pleased to announce a new product line! The CellarCool wine cellar cooling units are now available. CellarCool’s cooling systems are designed to offer excellent cooling power and dependability, at a price that’s affordable for beginning collectors. They are available in sizes for cellars from 265 to 2000 cubic feet and start at under $1000. The CellarCool systems are designed for simple through the wall installation, but should not be vented into areas where the temperature may exceed 85 degrees since they have a 30 degree temperature differential. This makes them best suited for indoor installations. The CellarCool CX series maintains temperature with a digital thermostat control that’s easy to set and read. Four models are available for various cellar sizes, and since the units are built in the same size and shape as other popular brands, CellarCool CX cooling units are typically a direct replacement for Breezaire and Wine Mate cooling units.

So if you’re in the market for your first wine cellar cooling system, or you need a solid and affordable replacement for your aging cooling unit, check out the CellarCool CX line of cellar cooling systems. Have questions? Leave a comment or give us a call–the Vintage Cellars team is here to help!

Humidity in Wine Cellars

July 6th, 2010 No comments

We know that wine has to be kept at a low temperature in order to age well.  It’s logical—we keep our perishable items cool so that they don’t spoil as quickly, and wine is, of course, a perishable item.  But what’s with the humidity thing?  Does wine really need to be kept at a certain level of humidity in order to keep from spoiling and aid aging?  Or is that just a useless feature that wine cellar makers have convinced us we need?  Bottom line: what does a wine refrigerator have that a regular refrigerator doesn’t?

The reason we need a humid environment in which to store wine mostly has to do with the cork.  So let’s talk about cork and it’s role in wine storage:  Cork comes from cork trees, which are mostly grown in Europe, and so is an organic substance.  (Incidentally, cork growing is a completely sustainable type of farming, since the tree is not killed to harvest the cork, and cork forests across the world protect many rare species of plants and animals, not to mention the cork farmers that rely on the trees for their livelihood.  Click here if you want to read our argument in support of keeping corks natural.)

Cork is the ideal material for sealing wine bottles, because it can expand and contract as its environment changes.  This is particularly useful for wine, because the glass bottles wine is kept in change their shape with the weather—cooler temperature cause the silicon dioxide molecules that make up glass to squeeze closer together, shrinking the bottle.  Warmer conditions cause them to spread out, expanding the bottle.  Although you want to protect your wine from temperature fluctuations, it is naturally and unavoidably exposed to a variety of environments (when it’s being bottled, when it’s being shipped, and when you’re taking it home from the store, for example).  The plastic nature of cork means that it expands and contracts with the glass, maintaining a tight seal between your wine and the outside world.

So, corks are very important for maintaining stable conditions inside your wine bottle.  And humidity is essential to maintaining the integrity of a cork.  Too dry, and the cork shrinks, letting in too much oxygen and causing cork taint (when a cork is so dry it cracks when you pull it out, the wine is almost certain to be ruined).  Too wet, and mold can form on the corks—it can rot them out and taint your wine.  (However, a little mold on the outside of a very old bottle’s cork is perfectly normal, as long as the mold is only on the dry side.)

The ideal humidity level at which to store wine is 50%-70% relative humidity.  The best kind of humidifiers are generally separate from the cooling systems, although if you live in a humid area or have a certain type of cooling system, you might be ok.  Through-the-wall humidifiers are the most heavy-duty choice.

Wall fountains are an artistic way to add humidity to your wine cellar.

A wall fountain is one way of adding humidity to a wine cellar.

Another very cool option is a fountain humidifier.  These work by circulating water through a fountain, allowing it to evaporate into the air and humidify the environment.  These wine cellar humidifier fountains can be a unique and aesthetically pleasing part of a wine cellar, and they are sure a conversation starter—no one expects to see a fountain among the dusty bottles.  Fountain humidifiers, however, don’t provide as much humidifying power as through-the-wall humidifiers, so if you live in the desert, one might not be an option.

You can learn more about humidifying a wine cellar and types of humidifiers here in our Education Center.

The humidity factor is what differentiates a wine cellar from a refrigerator.  The right humidity is crucial to the success of your wine aging endeavors.  Humidity needs change from area to area, and humidifiers require that your wine cellar is properly insulated and sealed to work properly, so make sure you contact a wine cellar professional about your specific humidification needs.

Making It Perfectly Clear: Considerations for Wine Cellar Windows

July 30th, 2009 No comments

I have two examples I want to share with everyone currently planning on building a wine cellar.  Whether new construction, a remodel or an addition to the home, it is important to review all aspects of construction with a wine cellar specialist.  These two examples both have to do with heat load and wine cellar windows.

The first example is from a wine cellar on the coast in Southern California.  A general contractor was responsible for the cooling, construction and preparation of the wine cellar.  I consulted with the interior decorator and the home owner on a racking design.  The concept was beautiful with stone, artistic tile and an amazing floor.  The wine cellar windows were tinted glass. The racking was hand made cabinetry, distressed, stained and waxed to create an antique effect.

I recently received an emergency phone call from the client to discuss condensation building up on the outside of the cellar on the 2 large tinted glass windows. After a brief conversation, I discovered the wine cellar window glass was a single pane glass. 55 degrees inside a wine cellar and 80 degree moist ocean air will create condensation, guaranteed.

The second example is from a dry desert climate. There were many factors that had to be considered to meet the clients design requirements. Part of that was a near invisible cooling unit.  In this example, the cooling unit was working 23 hours a day and only keeping the cellar at 59 degrees.  The wine cellar was constructed with the front wall done entirely in ½ inch thick glass. There was not enough BTU’s in the cooling system to compensate for the heat load coming through the glass.

In both situations, the glass was the key problem ingredient. Vintage Cellars recommends using a dual pane thermal insulated glass for any wine cellar windows or doors. The exterior environment can have a dramatic effect when the goal is to keep a room at 55 degrees. Consult with a wine cellar expert before making decisions that can affect your favorite room.